Workshops on Climate Change, Gender, and High-Level Advocacy | GBWN

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Civil society plays several roles in relation to gender budgeting – as experts, as advocates, and monitors, as practitioners, as partners. Within the framework of our Gender Budget Watchdog Network (GBWN), CRPM hosted the project partners from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro and Moldova, which aim to increase the competencies of CSOs in gender-responsive budget (GRB) tools and monitoring activities. From 20 to 25 June 2023, we conducted two workshops, the first on the topics of Climate change and Gender in Skopje and the second one on High-level Advocacy and Lobbying in Negotino.  

On the first day of our workshop on Gender and Climate Change, the sessions were held by Slavjanka Pejchinovska-Andonova, who introduced us to the concept of climate change, mitigation and adaptation measures, and the gender equality component of climate change action. The session initiated an interactive discussion among all participants about their views on climate change and what kind of actions we can take on the individual and collective levels. The second session of the day was focused on the relationship between gender and climate change issues – gender roles in society and how these specific roles make woman more vulnerable to climate change. The CSOs of GBWN are very often working with different disadvantaged groups, women, disability rights advocacy groups and CSO development organizations. Therefore, we discussed different examples of vulnerability to climate change in different economic activities in our local contexts that we know very well. The power of this network lies in its advocacy power for those who do not have voice in the society and so we speak for them!  The discussion further led us to the conclusion that measures need to be multilayered, meaning if an intervention takes place, we need to consider the different impacts it will have, especially when it comes to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups.  

The second day of our workshop was quite intense, but we aim high! Our morning session was dedicated to a quite complex topic of International commitments for Climate Change and Gender Equality – led by our expert Gordana Nestorovska. With Gordana´s guidance, we understood better the connection between international commitments for Climate Change and Gender Equality. The international commitments are the basis for our watchdog network in monitoring and overseeing how they are transcendent in national policies and legislation in our partner countries. The CSOs that we are training in our network on GRB tools will need to use the state’s commitments and reporting mechanisms as advocacy tools as well. We continued the discussion on the opportunities for Climate Change Financing with Slavjanka Pejchinovska – Andonova, who introduced us to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), its mission, financial instruments supporting climate change actions, eligibility projects, good examples of climate change projects with adaptation and mitigation actions.  

In the afternoon session, we first worked on developing our network methodology that will equip the CSOs with different tools that can be used on different levels (local, national) and different interventions (activities, projects, programs, strategies) for watchdog activities in the climate change financing from a gender perspective. After that, our last session of the day was reflecting the whole day’s discussions and incorporating new information we received from our experts into developing a tool for the regional research on gender in climate change financing assessment. We wrapped up the first 2 workshop days by developing a very clear 5-STEPS ACTION plan, guided by Marija Risteska, CEO of CRPM. This action plan is to be followed by the partners in the next two months.   

After two days in Skopje, we moved beautiful Tikvesh region, where we discussed high-level advocacy and lobbying strategies, opportunities and spaces to be involved in as GBWN. Our expert Ida Manton created a space for the partners to brainstorm and discuss various ideas about platforms and potential events where it would be beneficial to have the network represented. We went through mapping of opportunities for CSO participation on international events that can be used for holding the government accountable; created a Calendar Event for the next two years and identified entry points for side events and identification of potential partner. On the last day of our workshop, we started with a structured plan for the next 2 years with specific tasks and actions to be done, again wonderfully led by Marija Risteska, supported by Ida Manton, bringing the theory into action!  Afternoon sessions were focused on our self-assessment of styles of personality that is influencing our skills also in advocacy. We discussed what skills we need to develop in order to have successful advocacy efforts and make sure our point of view makes it to the tables where decisions are being made, meaning local, regional and international events, discussions, forums and platforms. We now know how and where GBWN will be present for sure, but if you know about an event we should not miss, let us know!  

We ended this series of workshops with a clear activity plan until the end of the year. This workshop series was another great opportunity for us in building strong partnerships, promoting awareness, and fostering a conducive environment for gender-responsive budgeting, that are crucial for maximizing the potential of strong civil society in the Western Balkans and Moldova. Next to come, is a workshop on Communication Strategy in Moldova. We look forward to meeting the network partners again! 

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